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Protecting Yourself From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is also known as the “silent killer”. That’s because it’s a gas that cannot be seen, smelled or tasted. And since it is invisible, odourless and tasteless, CO is the cause of more than 50 deaths in Canada each year, according to the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, as reported by Rebecca Joseph of Global News.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath and flu-like symptoms. However, for the vast majority of us, when feeling such symptoms, we don’t assume that CO is the cause.

How is carbon monoxide produced?

“CO is produced anytime a fuel is burned,” explains Kidde Canada, “Potential sources include gas or oil furnaces, water heaters, space heaters, clothes dryers, barbecue grills, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, gas ovens, generators, and car exhaust fumes.” Their website goes on to reveal that, according to Statistics Canada, 64 percent of Canadians use natural gas, oil, wood and wood pellets or propane as their home’s major heat source.

What that means is most of us are more susceptible to CO poisoning than we may assume. This is especially true if you have an idling vehicle in your home’s attached garage. Even with the garage door opened, carbon monoxide can become trapped in concentrated amounts.

What are some ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?

As if this wasn’t already made clear, don’t leave your car running while it’s in your garage. The CO produced by the car can easily seep into your home. As well, don’t heat your home using ovens or stoves. What may seem like an absolutely ridiculous idea is a practice that some people have used during the winter in lieu of turning up the heat.

“Do not use charcoal or gas grills inside or operate outdoors near a window where CO fumes could seep in,” advises Kidde Canada, “Have a licensed professional inspect heating systems and other fuel-burning appliances annually. Install fuel-burning appliances properly and operate them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.”

What is the best way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?

In truth, there is only one way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home: a carbon monoxide detector. As mentioned, CO can’t be seen, smelled or tasted, so there’s no way to tell if it has become concentrated in your home. You certainly don’t want to guess as to whether or not your home has a potential problem. Simply put, getting a carbon monoxide detector should be at the top of your to-do list.

“A carbon monoxide detector is the best way to protect you and your family from this potentially deadly threat,” insists the Canada Safety Council, “Install CO alarms where they can be easily heard, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. When installing a CO alarm, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Test CO alarms at least once a month and replace batteries according to manufacturer’s instructions.”

Protection against carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious matter for all Canadians. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services that detect indoor air quality problems including CO. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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The Importance Of Eliminating Secondhand Smoke From Your Life

Smoking is nasty. We apologize if this offends anyone who still smokes cigarettes, but we feel it’s important to be honest. Especially when that honesty may have a role in protecting people’s health, it’s something we’re willing to share. Smoking isn’t just nasty because it smells bad, stains your teeth and ages a person well beyond his/her years – although that should all be enough to get a smoker to quit – it’s literally nasty because it’s a killer.

You certainly don’t have to be reminded of how harmful cigarette smoke is to your health.

By today’s standards, that’s old news. But here’s a quick refresher: cigarette smoking is a known cause of lung cancer (among other cancers) and kills nearly 40,000 Canadians a year. Not to rehash our potentially offensive approach to this topic, but smoking cigarettes – when you really think about it – is pretty crazy.

“Smoking is the No. 1 preventable cause of death in Canada and kills more than 37,000 Canadians each year – six times more than vehicle collisions, suicides, murders and AIDS combined,” reports Medisys.ca, “Many people who smoke say they smoke to relieve stress, or smoke more when they are experiencing stress.”

What about the stress endured by the non-smoker?

By that, we mean to highlight the many negative implications of inhaling secondhand smoke. Yes, cigarettes are so lethal, you don’t even have to smoke them to suffer the consequences of their existence. Non-smokers who are around smokers during their partaking in their nasty habits are just as susceptible to a variety of cancers as the smokers themselves.

“There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke,” informs Cancer.net, “Even brief moments around secondhand smoke can harm a person’s health. And the risk of health problems is greater with more exposure.” The website goes on to explain that research suggests “that secondhand smoke exposure may increase the risk of other cancers by at least 30%. These include cervical cancer, kidney cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer, rectal cancer, and brain tumors.”

How can you eliminate secondhand smoke from your life?

Perhaps contrary to the opening paragraph of this week’s blog, it’s best to take the polite approach. After all, cigarette smokers are not bad people. They’re simply people with bad addictions. You’re well within your rights to inform them that you do not want cigarette smoke in your home or anywhere around your person. Just be nice about it!

Laura Nathan-Garner of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center offers no less than nine polite ways to say “don’t smoke around me”. With the help of her friends and Facebook followers, she provides some great examples. The following is from Janet P.

“People don’t like being told what to do so I don’t tell them they cannot smoke around me. If they light up, I simply say ‘I don’t like to be around cigarette smoke. I’ll wait for you over here.’ Then I move myself away. They are less likely to take offense and usually will accommodate my decision by either not smoking or by moving away themselves.”

A smoke-free home will greatly improve its indoor air quality.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’d like to help you with that! For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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